Henrietta Laffoon Emerson, 96, born to Mae Little and Merritt Laffoon on December 23, 1917 in Parker, Arizona died peacefully in her sleep to join her Lord on Friday, March 14, 2014. She was the beloved matriarch of the Emerson and Laffoon families. She was preceded in death by her husband Fred H. Emerson, parents Merritt and Mae Laffoon, sisters Bernice, Wanda, and Jewel, brothers Harry, Herman James, Orlando Laffoon; her children, baby (girl) Hope, Gloria, Loren, and Jonell and grandchildren Juan, Danny, Andrea, Camille and John (Auggie).|
She is survived by daughters Charlene, Marsha, Janice and son, Keith Emerson, 25 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great grandchildren.
Henrietta attended boarding schools at CRIT BIA, Ganado, and Tucson Saguaro. She was raised in a devout Christian family at the Old Presbyterian Church in Parker, Arizona. But while she lived in Fort Yuma, she attended the Fort Yuma Methodist Church, faithfully. She was a kind, caring, generous, and gentle woman, with a great sense of humor – she had an adorable giggle. She enjoyed many things in life, among them, she was passionate about cooking, crocheting, reading, and traveling.
Frybread and Henrietta Emerson's name were one in the same. In fact, many can attest that her frybread was already famous before frybread became famous.
In the late 70s, her husband and she established Emerson Original Frybread and remained in business for over twenty five years at the Arizona State Fair and the Wellton Pioneer Days, and enjoyed about a 10 year-run at the Yuma County Fair.
Prior to moving to Ft. Yuma, California, she lived in Phoenix and the Salt River Reservation with her family during the 1950s. In that time she assisted her husband in raising money to start up a Tribal band. The funds helped purchase musical instruments for the band that became known as the Salt River Indian Band; they became well known throughout Arizona. She encouraged all of her children to play a musical instrument, The Emersons also played with the Quechan Indian Band and the CRIT Band.
Henrietta was an enrolled member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT). She was proud of her Mohave heritage and fluent in the traditional Makaav and Kwatsan languages. She was of the Hippah Clan of the CRIT Reservation.
Henrietta was treasured and loved by her family, who each carry a blessed memory of her.
A Celebration of Life Service will begin on Friday, March 21, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Ft. Yuma Methodist Church, Winterhaven, California, Pastor Robert Klein officiating. Services will continue in Parker, Arizona at 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Parker Valley Presbyterian Church, guest Pastor Robert Klein officiating. Traditional Rites will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the CRIT Big House. Cremation is at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the CRIT Cemetery.
Pallbearers: Loren Emerson, Jr., Elias, Sr., Seth and Isaac Collins, Matthew Juan, Preston, Jr. and Mickey Scott, Ryan Takala, Bryan Talaswaima, Boyd, Jr. and Steven Hill, Jason, Sr., Jason, Jr., and Andrew Lomaintewa, Michael Salinas, and Joseph Barton.
Honorary Pallbearers: Keith Emerson, Charles Juan, Cranston, John, Kenton and Herman Jr. "T.J." Laffoon, Fernando "Bo" Flores, Calvin Laffoon, Clayton Lee, Keeny Escalanti, Sr., Robert, Rodney, Stephen and John Lewis, Delano Carter, Ivan Makil, Robert Klein, Preston Scott, Sr. and Brandon Frank, Shayne Takala, Erik, Arlie Philbrick, Sr.,and Christoble Emerson, Moises Navarro, Charles Montague and Michael Schaaf.
Published in The Yuma Sun on Mar. 19, 2014